Theoretical study of volume changes associated with the helix-coil transition of an alanine-rich peptide in aqueous solution.
The changes in the partial molar volume (PMV) associated with the conformational transition of an alanine-rich peptide AK16 from the alpha-helix structure to various random coil structures are calculated by the three-dimensional interaction site model (3D-RISM) theory coupled with the Kirkwood-Buff theory. The volume change is analyzed by decomposing it into contributions from geometry and hydration: the changes in the van der Waals, void, thermal, and interaction volume. The total change in the PMV is positive. This is primarily due to the growth of void space within the peptide, which is canceled in part by the volume reduction resulting from the increase in the electrostatic interaction between the peptide and water molecules. The changes in the void and thermal volume of the coil structures are widely distributed and tend to compensate each other. Additionally, the relations between the hydration volume components and the surface properties are investigated. We categorize coil structures into extended coils with the PMV smaller than helix and general coils with the PMV larger than helix. The pressure therefore can both stabilize and destabilize the coil structures. The latter seems to be a more proper model of random coil structures of the peptide.更多